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How to Use Your Realtor Edge to Your Advantage

With outside industry threats, market shifts and competition for listings, there’s no better time than now to effectively communicate your value to buyers and sellers.

Adam Grenville was working with a senior couple desiring to downsize from a large home with a sprawling yard to a maintenance-free retirement community.

They had started the conversation about selling back when home prices were at an all-time high and hoped that they, too, would get top dollar for their listing. But things didn’t unfold the way they’d expected.

“A number of circumstances occurred, and we didn’t list the property until late 2022,” says Grenville, sales associate at RE/MAX Premier Group in Wesley Chapel. “By then [in my market], the pricing scenario had changed.”

He could see that his clients were apprehensive but instead of giving into their fears and doubts, he talked with them at length about their goals and wishes.

“That was really important in getting them comfortable with their next move,” he says. “It was basically knowing when to encourage them to consider a price adjustment or accept a lower offer.”

Thanks to Grenville’s expertise, the couple sold their home at the highest possible price. “It wasn’t just about marketing their home and getting it sold swiftly to ensure my own compensation—it was about safeguarding their interests, while not pushing them to do something they didn’t want to do,” he says.

Each time Grenville navigates a complex transaction, it reaffirms his belief in the relevance of Realtors® like himself and the value they bring, regardless of the economic climate. Realtors play a vital role that neither technology nor non-traditional real estate models (i.e., FSBOs, online platforms, discount brokerages, iBuyers or wholesalers) can replace, he says.

“Negotiation skills are probably one of the greatest values we offer consumers as their advocate, because we have the knowledge needed to defend and encourage our price point.”

Grenville recalls a conversation he had at a listing appointment about how much he’d get paid for his services. Since he was referred by a friend, Grenville told him he would charge him less than he sometimes does. “But he said he knew people who would do it for less.” Grenville remained firm while respectfully declining to further lower his fee. “I even offered to put him in touch with a [discount broker],” he says. After thinking it over, the seller had a change of heart. “He said he appreciated how I handled myself and listed with me at my requested compensation. “You can’t say yes to every request [to accept less]; that’s a recipe for getting into a different business.” The key, he says, is to be transparent and outline all the services you are offering the seller to get the home sold quickly for top dollar.

Here are ways two more Realtors are proving their value to buyers and sellers.

Learn, grow, achieve

Gainesville-based Adam Gurske considers himself a professional development junkie. Growing up in the business, he learned that continuous self-improvement was a solid strategy for career advancement.

From the start of his own career, he began asking himself which designations he should get next and which continuing education classes he should invest in.

“I’ve been on our local professional development committee the entire 10 years I’ve been a Realtor, as well as the Florida Realtors® Professional Development Committee for about six years,” says the sales associate with Matchmaker Realty of Alachua County. His mission? To consistently refine his expertise and leave an indelible mark on buyers and sellers.

“It puts me at the forefront of what’s happening so I can best explain it to my [clients],” he adds. “I want them to feel like, ‘Adam helped us with everything from A to Z and ultimately got us what we needed.’”

Gurske also has a passion for making sure clients are kept up-to-date through every step of the transaction. “The first thing they’re going to get from me is an outline with key dates that we don’t want to miss, plus to-do lists from now until closing,” he says. “I joke that it’s their view [from] 30,000 feet; and I don’t care if they print it out, put it on their refrigerator or use it [as a bookmark] in their Bible.”

In addition to holding Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES), Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) and Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) designations and certifications, Gurske recently worked toward becoming a Florida Realtors Board Certified Professional

The purpose of these accreditations isn’t to flaunt success, he says, but to emphasize what distinguishes him as a professional and implement the strategies he learned while earning the designations.

“We can all get designations and certifications and at some point, it becomes alphabet soup. Ultimately, what matters to [buyers and sellers] is if you are good [at your job]. It’s fairly easy to become licensed and start transacting real estate, and yet we see a lot of folks that aren’t well trained or educated. So it’s important to shed a light on those designations that we work for.”

A compact powerhouse

Dan Lopez comes from a long line of real estate professionals. “My parents were part-time real estate professionals, and my grandfather was an investor,” says Lopez, who together with his wife, Tina, is broker-owner of Legends Realty in Lake Mary.

Despite being a small office of nine agents, Lopez’s brokerage achieves a tremendous volume of business. What sets his operation apart from the crowd, he says, is a seamless integration of both full-service sales and property management.

Unlike most real estate brokerages, which mainly concentrate on sales and often treat property management as a side activity, his agents are trained to excel in both areas. Their balanced approach proves beneficial, he says, because they manage between 400 to 500 properties.

His team always keeps people aware of everything they are doing on their behalf.

“If I’m working with a seller, I’m communicating with them a minimum of two to three times a week,” he says. “I explain both the pros and the downfalls of being a landlord. Once we get them signed up, my team takes over. This is why my wife and I make good partners. Tina loves that daily grind of property management, and I tend to be the beginning, middle and end guy who has a goal and enjoys accomplishing it.”

Another way Lopez communicates his value to buyers and sellers is by staying civically engaged in his community. He’s active in his church as well as his local chamber of commerce and serves on the advisory board at his city’s code enforcement entity. He also lends his business acumen to Seminole County’s planning and zoning advisory board, where he was recently voted vice chair.

These diverse roles attest to his belief that Realtors should actively engage with the community and participate in public decisions that impact people’s lives. “We need to be out there helping [so that we can] contribute to our community’s growth and well-being,” Lopez adds.

“Real estate is our world and what we do,” Grenville says. “We aren’t compensated for selling a home; we are compensated for our knowledge and all the aspects involved in getting that home sold. So study, hone your skills and be able to identify your value and defend it.”

Leslie C. Stone is a Vero Beach-based freelance writer.